Investigations for Supervisors

Supervisors are responsible to report and investigate all accidents/incidents involving UBC workers (faculty, staff & student workers) or practicum students, and to submit a Preliminary Investigation Report within 48 hours (2 days) and complete a Full Investigation Report within 30 days in UBC’s Centralized Accident/Incident Reporting System (CAIRS).

If you are from the UBC Okanagan campus, please follow the procedures and report through UBCO Health, Safety and Environment.



What is a supervisor?

A supervisor is a person who instructs, directs and controls workers/staff in the performance of their duties. This is referenced further in the University’s Health and Safety Policy.

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How do I determine if an incident is immediately reportable to WorkSafeBC?

If you have had a serious incident in your workplace, UBC may be required to notify WorkSafeBC and potentially other regulatory agencies immediately.  Under the Workers Compensation Act the following incidents must be immediately reported to WorkSafeBC.  Any incident that:

  • Results in serious injury to or the death of a worker;
  • Involves a major structural failure or collapse of a building, bridge, tower, crane, hoist, temporary construction support system or excavation
  • Involves the major release of a hazardous substance;
  • Involves a fire or explosion that had potential for causing serious injury to a worker; or
  • That is diving-related or blasting-related.

SRS can be immediately notified by calling Campus security at 604-822-2222.

For questions or concerns about federally reportable incidents involving radiation, infectious materials, or transportation of dangerous goods, please contact SRS Research Compliance and Occupational Hygiene at 604-822-2029 (Mon-Fri 8:30-4:30) or 604-822-2222 (after working hours).

If the incident meets the above, it is important to not disturb the scene as much as possible until otherwise notified by the applicable authorities.

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What is the supervisor’s role if an accident/incident occurs?

  1. Manage the Scene
    1. Secure the scene. Ensure the scene is safe or restricted until the hazard is removed or properly mitigated. (Suggestions: evacuate the area, lock-out, place warning signage, tape or guards)
    2. Determine if it is an emergency and call 911 if applicable (ie. Medical emergency, traumatic incident) If there is an injury contact UBC First-aid by calling 604-822-4444 (Faculty/Staff) or 604-822-2222 (Students). In the event of a medical emergency, first call, 9-1-1 and then call first aid
      • Note: For off-Vancouver campus UBC workplaces, refer to the designated first aid procedures. As a supervisor, you are required to ensure that workers know the procedures for obtaining first aid if they are at a location outside of the Vancouver campus.
  2. Determine if the incident is immediately reportable (per the above immediately reporting criteria)
  3. Commence an incident investigation
    1. Encourage the worker to submit a CAIRS report as the injured/affected person;
      • Note: If a worker immediately departed the workplace to seek medical attention and missed time from work as a result of a work-related injury/illness, advise that they can start a WCB claim by calling the WorkSafeBC Teleclaim Contact Centre at 1.888.WORKERS (1.888.967.5377). They should also complete an incident/accident report at UBC CAIRS (Injured/Affected Person Incident Report).

Note: It is against the law to discourage or not report an injury or accident that has occurred in your workplace.

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How do I get trained to perform an accident/incident investigation?

The Safety Supervision at UBC course is required for supervisors and is designed to introduce personnel to incident investigation and the UBC CAIRS. The course takes approximately 30 min.

For additional in-person incident investigation training, please contact Safety & Risk Services at or 604-822-2029.

Resources to assist with the incident investigation:

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How do I get more information regarding injury/illness coverage?

Contact UBC Workplace Health Services(HR) for information regarding WorkSafeBC claims coverage.

For information regarding Practicum/Clinical Placement Students coverage, you may also visit Practicum/Clinical Placement Student Safety

For other insurance coverage, please contact SRS Insurance & Loss Prevention.

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Who participates in the investigation?

It is the responsibility of the appropriate supervisor to lead the investigation with appropriate personnel including but not limited to:

  • Local applicable management should participate in order to be aware of the incident and assist with the implementation of necessary changes and resources.
  • A worker representative of the Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee (JOHSC) and/or Local Safety Team (LST) for participation and advising support.
  • Subject matter experts in Safety & Risk Services and across the University can assist, provide guidance and resources to ensure the investigation is thorough and meets all regulatory requirements.
  • Any witnesses who saw or heard the incident.
  • The worker who was injured/affected by the incident.

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What are the types of investigations that need to be completed?

There are two types of investigations that need to be completed after an accident/incident: Preliminary Investigation; and Full Investigation.

Preliminary Investigation

The preliminary investigation must be completed within 48 hours after the incident and submitted in CAIRS. The purpose of the preliminary investigation is to investigate and document initially known facts (within 48 hrs), typically being “what happened?”, “what was immediately unsafe?”, and “what was done to secure or restrict the scene?” The general practice is:

  1. Visit the site as able, and ensure that work can either continue safely or is otherwise restricted and not disturbed until further review is complete.
  2. If reasonably available, seek assistance from a worker representative from the Local Safety Team (LST), Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee (JOHSC) or a worker familiar with the type of work that is performed by the injured worker (not a supervisor);
  3. Interview the injured worker and any witnesses or knowledgeable persons;
  4. Note dates, time(s), names, and location information as able;
  5. Identify immediately known significant, facts of the events (tasks, weather, time of day, etc.), including information that led up to the incident (this may include previous days) and followed the incident (such as first aid);
  6. Describe any immediately unsafe conditions, acts, or procedures while considering possible work/task system problems such as training, equipment maintenance, standard work procedures and environmental conditions.
  7. Develop interim corrective actions to ensure the incident scene is safe and the hazard has been properly mitigated or removed.
    • Describe the corrective action required and identify the person responsible and the date for completion.
    • Work cannot resume in the accident/incident area unless steps have been completed to mitigate or remove the hazard.

If the entire investigation and corrective actions have been completed during the preliminary investigation, it will be considered as the full investigation will be submitted to WorkSafeBC 30 days after the date of occurrence) via CAIRS.

Full Investigation

The full investigation builds upon the Preliminary Investigation Report, and must be completed within 30 days after the incident. In the full investigation, you must have (in addition to the Preliminary findings):

  1. Updates to any details
  2. Determination of the contributing factors to the incident and an understanding of why or how those occurred at that moment to find areas to improve.
  3. A corrective action plan and learnings to prevent recurrence of similar incidents or as opportunities for improvement. It is recommended to follow the Hierarchy of Controls for developing corrective actions:
Elimination/Substitution Remove the hazard from the work site or replace the hazardous material and/or equipment with less hazardous ones
Engineering Controls Introducing designs or modifications to buildings, equipment, ventilation systems, and/or process to reduce exposure levels
Administrative Controls Introducing policies, guidelines, safe operating procedures and/or exposure control plans
Personal Protective Equipment Introducing gloves, respirators, hearing protection, lab coats, and/or steel toed shoes

Where an investigation cannot be completed within 30 days of the incident, contact Safety & Risk Services ahead of time at 604-822-2029 to assist with requesting an extension from WorkSafeBC. You will be asked to submit a plan with projected completion dates.

Lastly, be sure to follow up and update the investigation report (in CAIRS) to indicate that the corrective actions are completed, and continue to evaluate those actions in operation for effectiveness.

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